Tuesday, July 31, 2012

French Fries (aka Roasted Potatoes)

Now that the little guy wants to cut and cut and cut and cut in the kitchen, we are cooking all sorts of things.  In the bag above are potato slices.  They can be in potato shapes or french fry shapes- as you wish- it's all in the marketing.  But this recipe not only uses a knife, but it uses a ziploc bag.  HEAVEN...

To make it, cut the potatoes.  Put them in a bag with olive oil and sea salt, then close it and shake it.  Lay them out on parchment paper in a single layer and bake at 350 for an hour. Yum!
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Monday, July 30, 2012

Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery; it is~ really.  We are doing some work on the house. Among it is re-tiling a bathroom.

So what did the little guy decide to do when the tile saw was cutting?   

He picked up all the scraps, brought them inside, and "caulked" them to the tablecloth and extra piece of fabric.   
I am so flattered. :)
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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Empowering the Preschooler in the Kitchen

He had been begging for as long as I can remember.  He really wanted to use the knives.  No, not those blunt ones.  The big sharp ones.  The ones Mommy and Daddy use.

I sympathized with him.  It is harder to cut with a blunt knife.  But I still knew that knives are big and sharp, and they cut.  Heck, I have a scar on my hand from a paring knife incident in college.

But he is actually quite good with the little knives we had been giving him, and it seemed silly to wait any longer.  So I allowed him to use the "tomato" knife the other day.

That resulted in him wanting to cook Daddy a caprese salad.  He was so careful with the knife- I was so impressed.

Then he had to cut a grapefruit.  He kept commenting on what a good job he was doing, and I couldn't help but agree!  It is so much easier to do a job with the right tools.
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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Matching Little Suits

I made this dress-up outfit over two years ago (see here), and it still fits! Amazing.
 And the good news about having made two of them all that time ago is, well, that I now have two of them.  Convenient when there are two little boys now.

Over the course of that time, I made three pairs of pants (I kept making them as he kept growing- then I ran out of the material).

On the biggest pair, I haphazardly followed Dana at Made's tutorial for adding pockets.  They are a bit narrow (the pants) and the pockets are a bit low; in fact, said preschooler had to take off the pants and put on his dress-up jeans for the party just after our photo shoot.  The baby happily wore them all evening long.
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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Power Breakfast Ideas

 No matter what your kids are up to for the day, it always helps to have a strong breakfast.  Research has shown that kids who eat a better breakfast do better.  They concentrate better and have longer attention spans.  Their energy is more even and they are more in control of their actions and emotions.
All this from food?  YES!  Well, that, and sleep, and a host of other issues of course.  That being said, we could all benefit from some power breakfast ideas.

But first, what constitutes "power?"  Protein.  Kids need it just like we do.  Just a bit, but a bit of that every time they eat.  Protein means meat, eggs, fish, beans, full-fat organic dairy (preferably raw for the added enzymes and other amazing health benefits), or nuts or seeds.

If you can't manage to get protein into the meal, then it needs fat.  Good, healthy fat like butter, whole-fat organic dairy (preferably raw), coconut or olive oil, the fats from nuts like almonds or walnuts, or even animal fat like reserved chicken or beef fat, or lard from pasture-raised pigs.

In addition to one of these, the meal is best with a simple carbohydrate of some sort like fruit or a veggie.  Complex carbohydrates, when prepared properly then mixed with fiber, can really keep the body on an even keel.  

We all need to be eating whole foods-- foods that our great-grandmothers would recognize as food-- all the time.  And nothing else.

Also, it makes a difference to our bodies and our children's bodies and minds to serve organic food as much as possible, including and especially the meats and dairy.  You will be rewarded with stronger and healthier families if you make the effort to buy meat that is organic and pasture-raised, and local if you can find it.  We have so many resources around that it is not as much of an effort or expense as it once was to make sure that the raw materials that go into our babies are as good as they can be.

Fritatta idea: 1 pound of sliced new potatoes sauteed in coconut oil with an onion, then 6 eggs scrambled with the onion greens and 1/4 cup parsley are placed on top.  Baked at 400 degrees for 15 minutes to set. 
So where to start?  How can we feed our families good, solid power breakfast and get off on the right foot?
  Here are some ideas.  Try them, and once you hit on a few your family likes, repeat over and over... Enjoy!

  • Yogurt and fruit.  Make sure it is full-fat organic plain yogurt only.  Read the ingredients.  Steer clear of sugar in any form (cane sugar, sucanat, beet sugar, corn syrup, etc. are all words for the same thing-- and the artificial sweeteners are worse!). Trader Joe's European Plain Yogurt is affordable, fits the bill, and is delicious.  Try Strauss or Brown Cow as well. You can always substitute Kefir for yogurt if your family doesn't like yogurt.  But make sure to read those ingredients!
  • Yogurt and fruit with rolled oats and flaxseed meal sprinkled on top. 
  • Bacon.  Yes, I said bacon.  Buy it from pastured pigs without nitrates and save the drippings to cook with later.  Serve it with some fruit.
  • Hard boiled eggs and fruit or leftover steamed veggies like cauliflower, green beans, or broccoli.  Buy your eggs local, organic and fresh, and pasture raised if you can find it.  Chickens are omnivores, so avoid any that are fed "vegetarian" feed. They need to eat bugs to lay good eggs!  Omega-3 eggs are fine-- it just means they hens are given flaxseed meal as part of their diet, and we could all use more Omega-3's.  Shell color doesn't matter, it just indicates the breed of chicken.
  • Omelet with veggies.
  • Fritatta with veggies.  To make these, saute the veggies, then scramble the eggs and pour them over, then cover and let set on medium/ low for 10 minutes or bake in the oven for 15 minutes at 400 degrees (in a cast iron skillet).
  • Fried eggs with runny yolks and cucumber for dipping.
  • Eggs in a nest (egg fried in the hole of a piece of bread) with fruit on the side.
  • Eggs any other of a zillion ways with a piece of fruit on the side.  You will stay full longer if you cook them in fat (remember those healthy fats!  No canola oil or margarine.)
  • Cheese melted on a slice of organic sourdough or sprouted bread like Grindstone Bakery's (available at Whole Foods).  Piece of fruit on the side.  Hide a tomato slice or piece of lettuce under the cheese.
  • Green Smoothie with chicken stock, banana, fresh mint, cucumber, spinach, spirulina powder, flaxseed meal, chia seeds, and whey or yogurt.
  • Blue Smoothie with chicken stock, banana, frozen blueberries (half a bag of the wild ones from Trader Joe's), cucumber, spinach, spirulina powder, flaxseed meal, chia seeds, and whey or yogurt.
  • Smoothies made another one of a zillion ways.  We like ours with homemade chicken or beef stock as the liquid.  Bone broths keep us healthy by boosting the immune system and adding nutrients, and I like to "hide" stock wherever I can. You could also use more cucumbers, or plain filtered water. For the protein, we use yogurt or whey, which you can make yourself by dripping yogurt overnight (it is the liquid that remains-- it is highly probiotic and high in protein).  You could also use eggs if you trust your source enough to eat them raw.  You could use nut butters as well. We add spirulina powder by Green Vibrance often (the kids don't mind the taste) as a superfood, and also add flaxseed meal and chia seeds for the fiber and Omega 3's (they each provide them in different ways).  The cucumber adds more liquid as well as upping the veggie intake, and we add spinach for the same reason-- it blends right in and leafy greens are highly nutritious.  Then comes the fruit: bananas to thicken and make the taste mild, blueberries to color it and hide any of the other flavors for sensitive pallets, stone fruit to sweeten, pineapple or mango to sweeten-- use your imagination here, as well as a bit of restraint with the fruits.
  • Muffins with hidden veggies in them.  Find a recipe that is high in eggs and shredded veggies and low in percentage of flour, and substitute whole wheat flour for white flour (or even sprouted whole wheat flour if you can find it).  Omit the sugar, and make sure to use real butter when baking them.  Our family favorites include sweet potato muffins (these have garbanzo beans in them!) and beet brownies.  Look in the cookbook "Nourishing Traditions" or read the blog NourishedKitchen.com for ideas.
  • Garbanzo Beans with peas and corn.  You can use frozen peas and corn, but look for organic with only one ingredient ("peas" or "corn").
  • Hummus on a slice of organic sourdough or sprouted bread like Grindstone Bakery's (available at Whole Foods).  Piece of fruit on the side.
  • Apple with almond butter.  
  • Apple with sliced cheese (full-fat organic, of course).
  • Quesadilla with fruit or peppers on the side.  Use sprouted tortillas and organic full-fat cheese.
  • Smoked salmon with fruit. Make sure to find salmon that is wild-caught and without sugar or coloring added.
  • Milk and a piece of fruit.  Buy raw, organic, full-fat.  Try the raw goat milk for variety.
  • Steel-cut oats with flaxseed meal, chia seeds, green powder, almonds, and cut-up fruit (or berries).  Soak 1/3 cup oats overnight in 2 cups of water and a tablespoon of whey or lemon juice (this makes the oats more bioavailable and quicker to cook).  In the morning, bring it to a boil then lower to low until the water is gone, about 5 minutes.  In a separate bowl, soak a handful of almonds overnight.  Drain in the morning and add to the oats, along with the other ingredients. You can substitute a fried egg for the almonds.
  • Refried beans and avocado. Did you know avocado is a fruit? It also counts as a healthy fat.
  • Buckwheat pancakes.  Make sure and soak the buckwheat flour.  The "Eat Clean Diet Cookbook" has a good recipe.
  • Cottage Cheese pancakes.   Make sure you buy organic full-fat cottage cheese (surprisingly hard to find). The "Eat Clean Diet Cookbook" has a good recipe. 
  • Cottage cheese with fruit.  Again, buy organic full-fat cottage cheese.
  • Leftovers.  These would theoretically include a veggie and a meat.
  • Soup!  It's delicious any time of day, and if you can serve one with chicken stock and stewed meat and veggies in it, your family will be well-served.  Throw chicken stock in a pot on low when you wake up, and cut up a zucchini and red pepper, and cut up some leftover chicken or beef and throw that in, too.  It will be warm in no time.  Or serve leftover soup like pureed carrot or beet soup made with homemade chicken stock and beans.

Need more information?  Look up the Weston Price Foundation at http://www.westonaprice.org/ or read a book like "Nourishing Traditions" (which also has a host of recipes), "Eat Fat, Lose Fat," or "The Raw Milk Revolution."

Where can I find whole, organic, local foods?  Try Whole Foods Market, or a local fruit, vegetable, or meat club CSA.  Also look for the Farmer's Markets in the area and talk to the farmers.  Often you can save money if they are pesticide-free but not certified organic, or if you create a relationship with them.  Or start a little garden in your yard!

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Just Like Big Brother

Baby wanted up at the kiddie table to eat beet brownies with Big Brother.
"What's going on up there?"
When he is not invited in at the same time, he stands at the side and tries to climb in.
Making challah together.  Soon after, Baby started throwing flour into the mixer... just like Big Brother.
"Hey, he's in  my bath now!?  How fun.  Let's sponge."
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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

California Poppy in the Sandbox

We saw the sprout in the corner of the sandbox.  It looked like a carrot top, then turned less green.  Then we knew it was going to be a California Poppy.  We protected it with some soccer cones, and it was avoided and watered enough to sprout flowers!  What a nice way to brighten the sand box!
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Monday, July 23, 2012

Baby in the Dryer

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Pottying Baby in the Kitchen Sink

Our newest and greatest innovation for Baby (now 13 mo) has been to move a little potty (he is on the Ikea one) into the sink.

This is because he likes to be where the action is, and the action is not always in the bathroom (read: my big brother is far more active than that).

There is also a wide array of toys in the kitchen sink.  Plus, I can be right there and also be putting away dishes, etc.  Also-- I am not afraid that he will poop and walk away and drag a dirty bottom across the floor.

We love it!
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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Maternity and Nursing Wear for Sale

Please comment if you would like to buy anything and include your email address and I will email you back privately. Thanks!


  • Mimi Maternity L tan khakis. Stretch twill. Faux Fly. Pockets in front and back. Mid Belly panel. (similar to these but belly panel is different). $10
  • Motherhood Maternity L Super Stretch Boot Cut Secret Belly Maternity Jeans. Dark Wash. $10
  • Liz Lange Maternity size 10 jeans. Under belly panel (thick elastic covered in spandex). Light stretch denim.  Full length. $10

Lounge Pants:
  • Gap Maternity M capris in black. Fold-over waist. $5
  • Old Navy Maternity M Stretch full length black pants. Fold-over waist. $5
  • Old Navy Maternity XL Fold-over waistband yoga shorts in grey. Never worn. $5
  • KLD Signature L Yoga Pants in Red.  Foldover waist. Light and flowy. $5


Short Sleeved Thin Tops:
  • Liz Lange Maternity L Silky shirt. Bright Orange, muted orange, and tan. Cap short sleeves. Elastic shirring around boat neck. Adjustable thin tie for above belly. Nearly new. $5
  • Meet Me in Miami short sleeved stretch silky top. V-neck. Wide sleeves. Tan and orange and red with ladies' faces print. $15
  • Duo Maternity short sleeved top.  Brown and tan silky on top and stretch brown along belly and as an accent on v-neck and arms. Tie behind back at empire waist. Medium. $10
  • Duo Maternity cap sleeve polo shirts semi-fitted with 7 small buttons at top. Size medium. One mint green and one lavender and white and green striped. $5 each.

  • Meet me in Miami hot pink camouflage tank with adjustable straps. Silky and stretchy. Seam above belly and between breasts. Form fitting. $10
  • Old Navy wide strap loose tank. XL. Grey and Teal impressionist pattern.  Empire waist. Cut generously. $5
  • Old Navy L ribbed tank with gold sequins in front. $3
  • Old Navy Maternity stretch cotton size small tank. Red and pink and light pink horizontal stripes. $5
  • Raising a Raquet size large white lycra stretch v-neck tank (wide straps and looser fit). Empire waist. $5
  • Liz Lange Maternity Small Light Blue tank. $5
  • Duo Maternity Black cotton tank loose fitting wide straps size medium. $3

Long Sleeved Thin Tops:
  • Duo Maternity Long sleeve beige shirt medium. Boat neck. Stretchy cotton feel. $5
  • Mimi Maternity Long sleeve shirts size medium in teal in dark red. V-neck and rouching on sides.  Stretchy cotton feel. $5 each.
  • Gap Maternity 3/4 sleeve light cotton medium grey top. Deep v neck to empire waist. Rouching along arms. $5
  • Motherhood Maternity size small pink long sleeved top with v neck with pink stitching and empire waist with pattern at waist (pink with wooden beads). $3

  • Duo Maternity medium red cardigan. thin knit and soft. 4 little buttons at top and bottom stays open. $10
  • Motherhood Maternity medium hoodie sweater in hunter green.  Super soft and thick knit with 3 chunky buttons at top. $10
  • Gap Maternity Medium white sweater with thick cowl neck with short (4") silver zipper asymmetrical off-center. $10
  • Motherhood Maternity lavender size small cardigan. Lacey but still warm. Ties with one knot above belly. $10


For Nursing:

  • Huggalugs Bump Hugger Navy Blue. Size regular. Just for an extra layer while pregnant. Works well after baby, too, to help cover belly while nursing. $10
  • Title 9 "The Best Nursing Bra Ever." Sizes XL and XXL in white. $10 each
  • Motherhood Maternity Grey Sleeping Bra XL but I stitched the straps shorter. Wraps with lace along middle. $5
  • Bravado Nursing Tanks. The Essential Nursing Tank. 2 brown and 2 white in size 38F (DDD)/G. $10 each.
  • Boppy with Slipcover (red patterned pillow and slipcover is tan with a pale square pattern, gender neutral) ($20) 
  • My Brest Friend (dark blue cover with white suns and flowers, clip to close). Great for newborn age!! ($20)
  • Cloth Nursing Pads: 3 pair white terry outer and white sports mesh inner, 1 pair leopard suedecloth inner and cream knit outer, 2 pairs nonmatching PUL outer and lightweight patterned inner) similar to these($5 per pair)
Maternity Bottom Panel Guide Here.

Smoke-free and pet-free home.  Everything has been stored clean (Trader Joe's Laundry soap and no fabric softener).

I also have Baby Items for sale HERE.

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Selling Baby Items

Please comment if you would like to buy anything and include your email address and I will email you back privately. Thanks!

  • 6 size small in fleece
  • 1 size small in light cotton 
  • 2 medium fleece
  • 6 large fleece
  • 1 large thin wool 

Little Underwear: ($3 each)



Nursing Gear:


Newborn Diapers and Covers: ($5 each, all in excellent condition, all with snaps)
  • 1 white swim diaper with multicolored bright polka dots and multicolored snaps, brand new
  • 3 waterproof all-in-ones: 1 sage PUL with orange striped cotton inner, 1 purple PUL with white microfleece inner, 1 lavender PUL with cream sherpa inside
  • 3 fleece all-in-ones: all navy cotton inside, red snaps, and muted yellow, green, blue and red airplane fleece on outside (these were favorites but still in excellent condition)
  • 4 waterproof diaper covers (all similar to this: http://nicollesoriginals.blogspot.com/2009/06/thin-diaper-cover.html and all made of PUL with snaps): 1 red, 1 lavender with light blue, 2 maroon with brown
  • 3 fleece diaper covers (we ended up using these alone for EC-ing): 1 red, 1 leopard with brown, 1 cream hippos with blue
  • 3 fitteds (thicker snapping diapers where you can feel wetness but it is mostly absorbed): 1 white terry with white cotton, 1 navy sweatpants' fleece with purple snaps, i grey sweatpants' fleece with cream cotton and orange/ yellow snaps
  • 8 matching fitteds (thicker snapping diapers where you can feel wetness but it is mostly absorbed) with crossover snaps: sherpa on the outside (so cozy) and various gender neutral cotton prints on the outside with coordinating snaps, great condition (not excellent- these were used a bit more than the others)

Fitted Diapers S, M, L: (all in good condition)
  • 6 Kissaluvs size 1 (10-25 lbs) (v 1.0 with the purple stitching but still soft sherpa on both sides)  http://www.simplewondersdiapers.com/kissaluvs-fitted-diaper.htm. Faded 2 green, 2 blue, 1 purple, 1 yellow. We loved these at night under the microfleece sleep sacks. ($6 each)
  • 2 small white (sherpa outside, cotton inside, black and white snaps and purple and green snaps). ($5 each)

Training Pants S, M, L($5 each except Poquito Pants)

  • 4 medium bright bots: 2 yellow, 2 green, great condition (http://theecstore.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=168&products_id=176)
  • 4 medium nonwaterproof, 2 mustard yellow, 1 white, 1 mint green (http://doityourselfec.blogspot.com/search/label/Non-waterproof%20training%20pants), good condition
  • 1 large waterproof, sage PUL and mint green cotton inner ( http://doityourselfec.blogspot.com/search/label/Waterproof%20training%20pants), snaps on left side
  • 4 large brown nonwaterproof (http://nicollesoriginals.blogspot.com/2009/06/training-pants.html), pull-up style, great condition
  • 2 large white 4-way stretch nonwaterproof (http://nicollesoriginals.blogspot.com/2009/06/training-pants.html), pull-up style, great condition
  • 1 large sage green nonwaterproof (http://nicollesoriginals.blogspot.com/2009/06/training-pants.html), pull-up style, very good condition
  • 1 large white lycra with red and orange pineapples nonwaterpoof (http://doityourselfec.blogspot.com/search/label/Waterproof%20training%20pants style but lycra exterior and pull-up style), excellent condition, thicker soaker

  • Diaper Covers, Pocket Diapers, and Swim Diapers S, M, L


    EcaPants S, M, L($8 each, all snapping)
    • 1 small nonwaterproof military green with sage flower pattern and white inner, excellent condition
    • 1 small knockoff blue castles exterior and white inner, excellent condition
    • 1 medium nonwaterproof blue birds with brown hearts on a white background, good condition
    • 1 large waterproof, chocolate brown PUL exterior, white inner, like new
    • 1 large knockoff waterproof, military green PUL exterior, sherpa interior, red snaps, like new ( http://nicollesoriginals.blogspot.com/2009/09/ecapants-knockoff-drop-flap-training.html)
    • 1 small insert, excellent condition, $2
    • 1 large insert, excellent condition, $2

    Soakers: ($5 each, all in excellent condition) Soakers are great for pulling over flat fold diapers or fitteds to make them mostly waterproof. You can also use them alone (as wicking underwear).

    Sleep Sacks: ($10 each, all in decent used condition)
    [note we chose mostly microfleece because you can EC in them (or not) without baby feeling wet - fleece wicks moisture but doesn't get too hot]

    Swaddle Blankets: 

    Misc. Baby:

    A note on sizing (in general):
    small is for 0-6 mo
    medium is for 6-12 mo
    large is for 1-2 years
    extra large is for 2-3 years

    Smoke-free and pet-free home.  Everything has been stored clean (Trader Joe's Laundry soap and no fabric softener).

    I also have maternity clothing size L and a few M and a few XL tops if you are interested; let me know if you want more info.
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    Monday, July 2, 2012

    More Shorts

    Like the shorts last week, these were also made by tracing a pair of favorites over fabric and adding a seam allowance.  It is amazing ho much the sizing varies using this method.  I thought I had controlled for this by using the original shorts to cut each pair, but cutting a pattern probably would have done the trick a bit better.

    The top two are roomy on the legs and needed a casing with elastic at the waist.  They are made from new fabric.  The two shown below are made of old t-shirts and came out thin-fitting through the thighs and neither needed elastic to stay up.  
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    Sunday, July 1, 2012

    Recipe: Egg Muffin Cups

    These are a breeze to make, and using muffin cups really helps portion out food and make it portable.

    1/2 onion, diced
    1/3 cabbage, sliced
    3 zucchinis, diced
    2 carrots, diced
    other various veggies, diced
    fresh herbs like basil and parsley, diced
    9 eggs
    1/2 c shredded Parmesan, optional
    sea salt to taste
    How to:
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    Layer ingredients into muffin cups as you dice them.  Fill cups completely.
    Scramble eggs.
    Pour eggs into cups to fill them.  They will fill in the nooks and crannies.
    Sprinkle with salt to taste.
    If desired, top with cheese.
    Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.
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